The Free Lance-Star Photography Department shares the stories behind the photos.

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Contest Season or The Time of Year When I Punch Myself


It’s that time of year to start editing for the annual photo contests – Pictures of the Year, Best of Photojournalism, World Press, Virginia News Photographers Association, Northern and Southern Short Courses, etc etc etc. So I went through this year’s selects and I am missing a few pictures, specifically the good ones!

Contest season, at least for me, is a good time to look over a year’s body of work and as dispassionately as possible, try to come up with some goals and benchmarks for the next year. I’ve mentioned this before but when I look at my own work, I typically see mistakes and failures, frames that are almost there and missed opportunities. I see pictures that were good enough for the paper but not necessarily that will stay in my portfolio. I posted my 10 favorite sports pictures at and at least from a cursory look, a goal for 2K9 is to improve my sports action pictures.

It’s not all doom and gloom of course. Among the myriad daily grind pictures, there are a few images that remind me why I got into photojournalism in the first place – the opportunity to travel, meet new people and experience other people’s lives. It truly is a privilege and one that is often forgotten among the daily tallies of newspaper layoffs and the general funk that is enveloping the business. So, despite what many of my coworkers may think, I’m not as bitter and Grinchy as they may believe… Merry contest season – may you not punch yourself in the face too much this year!  -Mike Morones